Lok Sabha Elections 2024: TMC snatched rights of OBCs to facilitate its appeasement politics, 'vote jihad', says PM Modi

Addressing an election rally in Barasat, Modi, without naming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, criticised her for questioning the judges of the Calcutta High Court and wondered if the TMC would now 'let loose its goons on judges' following unfavourable rulings.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 11:41 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 11:41 IST

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Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s government of betraying the people of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) of the states to pursue its politics of appeasement.

Banerjee, on the other hand, said that if she could lead the Trinamool Congress to end the Left Front’s 34-year-long rule in West Bengal in 2011, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too could be ousted from power at the Centre.

Modi led a roadshow and addressed two public rallies, seeking votes for the BJP candidates in the Basirhat, Barasat, Jadavpur, and Kolkata North Lok Sabha constituencies of West Bengal. He harped on the alleged atrocities on women by a local leader of the Trinamool Congress and his aides at Sandeshkhali in the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency of the state. He also accused the TMC of pursuing a policy of appeasement and particularly referred to the Calcutta High Court’s recent order cancelling the OBC status granted to several classes since 2010.

“The court has exposed the treachery of the Trinamool Congress with the OBCs. The party snatched the rights of the OBC youths in order to pursue its appeasement politics and ‘vote jihad’,” Modi said at an election rally in Barasat, on the outskirts of Kolkata. “The TMC has betrayed the OBCs of West Bengal”.

The Calcutta High Court recently struck down the orders issued by the government of West Bengal between March 2010 and May 2012, entitling 77 classes, including 75 belonging to the religious minority community, to reservation under the OBC category. A division bench of the High Court that religion had been the sole basis for the West Bengal Backward Classes Commission and the state government to grant the OBC statuses to the additional categories in violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India.

Banerjee, however, said that her government would move the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court.

"It is clear that the TMC doesn't like those who expose its treachery and lies. I am astonished to see how the party is questioning the judiciary. Don’t they have any faith in the judiciary and our Constitution?" Modi said, adding: "The way they are attacking judges is unprecedented. I would like to know whether the TMC would now let loose its goons on judges as they are exposed?"

The TMC has been citing some newly surfaced videos to accuse the BJP of fabricating a false narrative about atrocities on women at Sandeshkhali in the state’s North 24 Parganas district.

"When the sisters of Sandeshkhali demanded justice, the TMC targeted them. I applaud the courage and bravery of our sister Rekha Patra, the BJP candidate from Basirhat. She is fighting against a force like the TMC; the women of this state and the country are with her," the prime minister said. Patra is one of the women who protested against the alleged atrocities committed by the local TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides.

Sheikh was arrested almost two months after the January 5 attack on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials during a raid at his residence in connection with a case of irregularities in the public distribution system in the state. The assault on the ED was followed by an agitation by local women protesting against atrocities by Sheikh and his aides known to be owing allegiance to the TMC.

The BJP turned the protests by women against the alleged sexual harassment by Sheikh Shahjahan into a major political weapon against the TMC. The party organised tours by the protesting women to different Lok Sabha constituencies to narrate their ordeal.

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Published 28 May 2024, 11:41 IST

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